By Scarlett Stough
How often have we read the admonition to "fear not" in the Scriptures? Fear seems to be permeating our American society and over much of the world. Why do we fear? Frankly, we have much to be afraid about. People fear unemployment problems, terrorism, bigotry, racism, and loss of freedoms, to name a few of our fears. So how do we replace our fear with courage?
As we close out the year 2016, we need to look more closely at how we can replace fear's companions of Doubt, Discouragement, and Disobedience. This topic will be discussed in four installments in December of 2016, January, February, and March of 2017.
We can learn a great deal about how to deal with our fear from reading the Old Testament Scriptures. Moses reminded Israel in the wilderness before they entered the land promised to them of how fear kept the generation which left Egypt from entering the land given to them by God (Deuteronomy 1:19-46).
God reminded Joshua after the death of Moses to not be afraid (Joshua 1:1-9).
Jesus reminded his disciples, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32 KJV).
Through the apostle John, Jesus reminds us again in the last book of our New Testament to not be afraid (Revelation 1:17; 2:10). Then we are warned that the "fearful" (also translated "cowardly" in many English language versions of the Bible), a Greek word* meaning "timid", and by implication "faithless" will not enter God's kingdom, but instead will suffer the "second death" (Revelation 21:8).
Fear can be a warning system we ought to pay attention to and then take precautions. There is a fear that is appropriate; but the fear we need to discard is a fear that will keep us from all the good God wants to give us.
The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.